To the university community,

Here we are at the end of the 2019 fall semester and the end of a decade! I won’t take time to recount all highlights of the past 10 years, but this past semester was certainly an exciting time to be a Hokie.

A year since the announcement of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus, the governor has signed the Tech Talent Investment Program and we’ve made significant progress toward expanding our presence in the greater Washington, D.C., area. The new building for the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC in Roanoke will soon be completed, and we recently announced a partnership with Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., with a focus on pediatric brain cancer.

In Blacksburg, the Creativity and Innovation District is taking shape, and we’re doing important work to support our campus community. This semester we began the process of resetting our Climate Action Commitment, and we are launching a forum aimed at ending sexual violence through changing our culture. We are implementing the recommendations of our Mental Health Task Force and discussing the challenges of food insecurity.

Since 2014, enrollment of underrepresented minority undergraduate students is up 43 percent, and our underrepresented minority faculty has grown from 6.6 percent to 8 percent, with our last cycle’s entering cohort at 10.6 percent. Our four-year graduation rate has risen from 61 percent to 67.6 percent, our highest percentage ever, and a Georgetown University study ranked the value of a Virginia Tech degree sixth in the nation among public R1 (very high research activity) universities.

Fall 2019 also saw the finalization of a new Strategic Plan, “The Virginia Tech Difference – Advancing Beyond Boundaries,” and the launch of a new campaign, “Boundless Impact,” to engage alumni and friends in our vision. Our influence is truly being felt across the commonwealth and around the world. In 2020, we’ll talk more about how our many communities of discovery are a signature strength that can attract the talent and resources we need to support our vision for the future.

Students, I’ve enjoyed your energy and engagement. Faculty, thank you for your hard and thoughtful work. To our staff, you’ve done an outstanding job managing the organizational infrastructure that supports everything we do. Thank you all for making this semester an exceptional experience at an extraordinary time.

I hope you are able to enjoy some much-deserved rest and relaxation over the winter break. If you are traveling, be safe. Let’s all cheer the Hokies to victory in the Belk Bowl, and I look forward to seeing you in 2020 as we launch an exciting new decade together!

Go Hokies!

Tim Sands

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